European Plastics Converters, the Brussels-based EU-level trade association representing Europe’s plastics converting companies, has written an open letter to the European Commission.
Citing the benefits of plastic products and in particular single-use applications during the difficult times we are experiencing at this moment in history the association is seizing the moment, writing: “Since the beginning, the Single-Use Plastics Directive 2019/904 has proven to be a difficult piece of legislation to follow and implement both at commercial level and at national level by Member States…..When drafted and pushed in an extreme short period this “political” piece of legislation the EU Commission DID NOT TAKE into account the hygienic consequences of banning or reducing Single-Use Plastics. It only reflected on littering aspects.”
The association continues, noting that the term single-use plastics is “completely wrong and not justified. To reduce littering an anti-litter regulation will be needed to impact both consumers and force industry in circularity thinking and keep going in this direction. The bashing on plastics followed by many politicians is now backfiring and it’s time to work together to rebuild the economy and safeguard consumer health whilst driving the circularity of the plastics industry.”
The letter goes on to point to the value of plastics in ensuring hygiene, safety and in preventing contamination.
“We cannot afford, in any sense, to forget such basic precautions that plastic products can provide and is already providing in the field right now to assist in the fight against this crisis,” it warns.
EuPC is therefore petitioning the Commission for a postponement of the deadline for the implementation of the SUP Directive of at least another year at the national level.
It is also requesting that all bans be lifted on ‘some’ of the single-use plastics items, to give the member states more time to focus on more urgent measures in the fight against COVID-19. This would allow, among others, the production and distribution of these SUP products in emergency situations.
The association affirms that the industry will uphold its commitments towards achieving more circularity in plastics and continue to work to boost the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025. However, support will also be needed from the EU Commission in that respect by “clearly accepting both mechanical and chemical recycling as complementary technologies to the common objectives in the Circular Plastics Alliance”.